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Manchester has 2.5% of the UK’s recruitment agencies – but is it enough?

Largely regarded as the ‘Capital of the North’ (although Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool might have something to say about that), Manchester is one of the most influential cities in the UK – both culturally and economically.  

We wanted to know whether this would be reflected in the local recruitment industry, so analysed the location data of more than 8,318 agency branches across the UK.  

Read on to find out how the recruitment market compares with other cities and whether there could be a demand for more agencies in Manchester.

How big is Manchester’s agency market?

According to our data, the City of Manchester accounts for around 2.5% of the UK’s recruitment agencies.

Statistically, this makes it the fourth largest agency market in the UK, behind only London, Leeds and Bristol – with the latter perhaps being surprising to some.

Table show where Manchester ranks among other UK cities for its percentage of recruitment agencies.

While Leeds may have won the battle of the Northern Powerhouse, our stats show that Manchester has nearly twice as many agencies as Liverpool and three times more than Newcastle. In fact, Manchester has more agencies than these two cities COMBINED.

This doesn’t take into account the wider Greater Manchester region, which is actually home to 6.8% of agencies.

It also has more than the entire county of Cumbria.

How many jobs do Manchester agencies have to deal with?

To find out the potential demand for Manchester recruiters, we took a proportionally representative sample of jobs advertised in 2018.

In our sample, the average number of jobs advertised each month in Manchester was 31,073.

This was 10,000 more than both Birmingham and Bristol – and nearly double that of Leeds.

Chart showing how Manchester compares to other cities outside London for overall number of jobs.

So, collectively, Manchester recruitment agencies potentially have more job vacancies to fill than agencies in any other town or city in the UK – with the exception of London.

But are there enough agencies to cope with the demand?

Jobs per agency in Manchester

To find out, we calculated the average number of job vacancies each Manchester agency would handle per month – which we’ve called ‘jobs per agency’.

By doing this, we found that the number of jobs per agency in Manchester is 38% greater than the national average.

It also has the highest number of jobs per agency in the North West and substantially more than almost every other major city in the UK – with only Cambridge having a higher figure.

To end: does Manchester need more recruitment agencies?

Manchester might have one of the largest recruitment markets in the UK, but the number of local vacancies means that there could be a demand for more agencies in the city.

This argument is only further strengthened by the fact that Manchester is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe – meaning more people, more job seekers and more businesses.

In our opinion, Manchester will require more recruitment agencies to cope with the growth expected over the next decade.

So, while the market might just be keeping up for now, it’s yet to be seen whether a rapid rise in candidates and employers will require an equally rapid rise in recruitment agencies.


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